First things first: Marvel Comics is doing some great things in terms of diversity in their books. Sam Wilson will soon be the new Captain America, Thor’s hammer will be passed to a woman who will take up the role of Thunderer/Protector of Midgard, and there’s a growing number of titles that focus on women and people of color: Black Widow, Captain Marvel, The Mighty Avengers, Elektra, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, All-New Ghost Rider, etc.
And that’s great. The only problem is that this push for diversity seems to stop right before it reaches the doors of Marvel Studios. Sure, Black Widow has been kick-ass in Iron Man 2, Avengers, and Captain American: The Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier also gave us the aforementioned Sam Wilson. There’s also Sif, who was not only amazing in both Thor movies, but even crossed over to the small screen to appear in an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, to date, all of Marvel’s movies have focused on a white dude or a collection of white dudes with maybe a woman (or raccoon or giant tree monster) thrown in for good measure.
So, what’s the problem? The folks at Marvel Studios has claimed that it’s a question of momentum. They have several plates spinning at once (another Thor movie, another Captain America movie, two more Avengers movies, not to mention the new Guardians of the Galaxy franchise), and they’re worried about breaking the pace of these franchises. I’m not gonna lie, I kind of see their point. But, I see a few golden opportunities on the horizon for, if nothing else, a movie for Black Panther and a movie for Captain Marvel.
Wakanda, Vibranium, and the Black Panther
At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the following prop was on display at the Marvel booth–
Now, it’s unclear if Cap’s iconic shield is actually shattered during the events of Age of Ultron, or if it’s some kind of dream/nightmare/illusion. Captain America’s shield has been broken several times in the comics. Sometimes it’s repaired by Doctor Strange’s mystical know-how, sometimes it’s repaired by a cadre of Asgardian dwarfs, and sometimes it’s repaired by the advanced science of Wakanda. So, my hope is that Cap’s shield is broken and the post-credit scene of Avengers 2 involves Steve and Tony traveling to Wakanda in order to ask King T’Challa, who happens to be an old friend of Tony’s, to help them repair the shield. That would open the door for a Black Panther movie. Maybe the plot would involve a battle over Wakanda’s vibranium supply, hopefully including the villainous Ulysses Klaw or some new faction of Hydra or AIM.
The Kree, Mar-Vell, and Captain Marvel
This week’s Guardians of the Galaxy–which is amazing fun, by the way–introduces movie audiences to one of Marvel’s classic alien species, the Kree.
The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D also included the corpse of something that’s clearly a member of the Kree race–
So, the Kree have clearly been to Earth. Perhaps they are a continuing presence, lurking in the background. That means that undercover Kree agent, Mar-Vell, could easily appear in the upcoming season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
And, if the first season finale can include Nick Fury and Maria Hill, the second season finale can include the incident that transfers a portion of Mar-Vell’s Kree powers to kick-ass U.S. Air Force officer Carol Danvers and, BOOM!, a Captain Marvel movie.
Mark Ruffalo, Blood Transfusions, and Sensational Cousins
Everyone agrees that Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner was the breakout character in Avengers. Since then, everyone has been itching for another solo Hulk movie. I say that’s a bad idea. Hulk is an expensive character to have as the lead in a movie, that’s why he usually doesn’t show up until the third act. Instead, I say use Ruffalo’s draw to open a She-Hulk movie. Banner visits his cousin Jennifer Walters, an up-and-coming lawyer in Washington, DC. When the opposition in Jennifer’s biggest case to date tries to kill her, only a blood transfusion from her cousin can save her life (and change it forever)–
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. A solo movie for Black Widow has been sort of promised. I’d pay to see a movie about Spider-Woman. Or a solo Sif movie. I’d also do horrible things to your loved ones if it got me a movie about Rikki Barnes and Eli Bradley. And, I know that Marvel may be doing this movie or may be casting that character, but it doesn’t count until I see footage.
Basically, all I’m saying is this: Get on this, Marvel Studios. It ain’t that hard.